Dallas Stars Owner’s Diabetes Fight

Tom Gaglardi’s hotel business takes him all over the world, and wherever he goes, whenever he sees a tell-tale needle, he offers his credentials.

His son, Wilson Gaglardi, 11, was diagnosed five years ago, not long after his father bought the Stars out of bankruptcy. His symptoms were typical. Thirsty all the time. Once doctors confirmed the diagnosis, Gaglardi educated himself on the incurable condition and the maintenance it requires. An insulin shot before every meal. Another at bedtime. Blood sugar checks. Pumps and pricks and test strips. Highs and lows. On and on and on.

In Wilson’s case, his parents check him three times a night. First at 10, again at midnight, then once more at 3.

If his blood sugar is off at 3, they give him something for it, then check him again at 4.

“It’s a tough slog,” Gaglardi said. “We gotta solve it.”

He doesn’t just mean his family’s lack of sleep. This is why he sees, say, a restaurant employee giving himself a shot and starts asking questions. What kind of insulin do you use? Ever thought about a pump? In this particular case, the guy tells him he can’t afford one. Can’t even check his blood sugar as much as he should. Test strips are too expensive.

“And that just kills you,” Gaglardi said. “I look at what we spend, and unless you’ve got a major plan, who can afford that?

This is why Gaglardi does more than ask questions. He’s donated money and raised more for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. He’s met with leading researchers. He promotes funding for advances in maintenance, but he’s more interested in potential remedies. Encapsulation, for example, where a credit card-sized device is implanted beneath the skin and releases insulin automatically as needed.

What he wants is a cure, and he believes it may be as close as three or four years.

Toward that end, the JDRF will honor Gaglardi at its Dream Gala banquet on April 8 at the Omni Dallas. Jim Lites, the Stars’ president, is the corporate chair. This year’s fundraising goal: $1.5 million.

Every night, Gaglardi is reminded of the need to meet the JDRF’s goals. He’s reminded when Wilson looks up at him and says, “I’m tired of having this. I don’t want it anymore.”

“I say to him, ‘Buddy, we’re gonna get a cure,'” Gaglardi said. “And he believes me.”

From The Dallas News

Living With Type I Diabetes – Whitney Holden Shares Her Story

According to American Diabetes Association, approximately 29.1 million Americans were affected by diabetes in 2012 alone, with 1/3 (79 million) of the nation diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

Changing the reality of countless millions of America, this disease targets individuals without discrimination, including countless children and young adults who are faced with a life filled with needles, medicinal regimens, and daily struggles to maintain a balance between exercise and nutrition, while living with juvenile diabetes.

Illustrating the daily struggle that comes with Type I diabetes, 15-year-old Whitby Holden, who was diagnosed two years ago, shared her own personal account of how she has struggled with the disease.

I have been living with juvenile diabetes for a little over two years, said Whitby. I was shocked and scared when I found out that I had diabetes, I didn’t really know what it was. I was just really thirsty and tired one summer and I got sick and started throwing up. My parents took me to our local practitioner, Shari Tidwell, and she decided to check my sugar.

Afterwards, she said that my sugar was too high to register, and she sent me to Le Bonheur. I spent the next two days in the hospital learning as much as I could about diabetes, and how it would change my life.

Fatigue and extreme thirst are two major symptoms I suffer from. I get really hungry too. I have to check my sugar before every meal, and watch my sugar for fluctuation. Eating snacks between meals is very helpful.

Illustrating telltale signs of fluctuation in her sugar level, Whitby talked briefly about some of the symptoms she experiences on a regular basis.

When my blood sugar is low, I get really shaky and tired and sometimes nauseated. When my blood sugar is too high I am very thirsty and usually develop a headache. Again, you really have to maintain a balance, said Whitby.

Whitby stated that no one else in her family has ever been diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and while diabetes, in many cases, is an inherited trait (1:10 ratio), the root cause of Type I diabetes is currently unknown.

Its a lifestyle change. You have to constantly be on top of your health, said Whitby. I stay very active with dance classes, but I do have to count carbohydrates. I used a Calorie King application on my phone when I first got started. I also had to be a lot more aware of how many calories I was taking in per meal.

I am actually really grateful for my situation. It has taught me a lot of different things. I know that most people wouldnt say that, but living a life with Type I diabetes has allowed me to live life without taking for granted a lot of things. While living with Type I diabetes never gets easier, it does get better. I am glad that I dont have to go through it alone. My family is the greatest support system that I could ask for.

For another young woman’s perspective on living with Type I Diabetes view this post.